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Frequently Asked Questions

Is home birth safe?
Home birth has been shown to be a safe option for pregnant people and healthy babies whose normal pregnancies are full-term at the start of labor, and who are monitored and attended by professional midwives. Visit our resources page for studies regarding home birth safety. 


What are the benefits of home birth?
There are many benefits of having a home birth. Some of the ones most commonly reported by families are:

  • Individualized care: All decisions about your care are made together with you, in detailed discussions of your needs and desires, your individual health, and the evidence regarding the options available to you. We respect you as your own - and your baby's - primary care provider.

  • Evidence-based care: We stay current on the research around pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and breastfeeding, so that we can provide the best evidence possible for your decision-making and our skills and knowledge.

  • Your own environment: You choose who attends your birth and who cares for you. You choose what to eat and drink. Walk, dance or sleep uninterrupted if you want to!

  • Bonding with your baby: We hold the space for the parent-baby connection as it makes the transition from the womb to the mama's arms, to the breast, and beyond.


Do I need to see a doctor for my prenatal care?

We offer comprehensive care during pregnancy, birth and the first 8 weeks after the baby is born. Prenatal care in the midwifery model includes all the same clinical components as obstetric care, such as listening to the baby with a doppler or fetoscope and taking your blood pressure, and also includes time getting to know you and your health, and addressing all your questions. Postpartum care includes six hour-long visits. There are some instances when parents may need to see a physician, such as antibiotic treatment of a UTI. Our care includes recognizing clinical situations requiring the attention of an obstetrician or pediatrician and referring you to one if necessary. Check the following list for conditions that rule you out for a home birth with a Licensed Midwife in Oregon


What about ultrasounds and lab work?
We offer referrals to medical imaging professionals in order to obtain ultrasounds as needed or desired. We are skilled in drawing blood, have a lab account and will order the blood and urine tests that you choose as part of your care. We are also able to refer you to other professionals for additional testing if it becomes necessary. There are no tests available in obstetric care that we cannot provide you or help you access.


Who will attend my birth?
Both Jamie and Whitney will be in attendance at your birth.


Can I have friends and family at my birth?
Yes! We truly appreciate the presence of loved ones who bring positivity and their love for you into your birthing space. We also offer support for setting boundaries when you desire privacy.


What happens if something goes wrong?
We are trained to handle certain complications at home, and to recognize complications that mean a hospital birth is advisable and to transport in those circumstances. One of the most common complications we handle at home is excessive bleeding immediately after the baby is born, and we carry medications to stop this bleeding and use them the same way they are used in the hospital. The other, which is rare but still one of the more common complications, is a baby who needs some help to take his or her first breaths. Harbor Midwives are certified in neonatal resuscitation and have experienced this scenario. Most babies in this scenario receive a couple breaths from us and then start breathing on their own very quickly. Again, in this scenario, we follow the same standards as the hospital. Our most common transport to hospital happens for a first-time labor that lasts a long time and mom nears clinical exhaustion; we go to the hospital for an epidural so that mom can have several hours of sleep and get her uterus the rest it needs - often the birthing parent wakes up to push the baby out! We also listen to the baby with a doppler during labor so that the baby can let us know that the baby is doing well; babies usually give us plenty of advance warning with a change in their heart rate if they need us to go to the hospital for their birth.


What equipment do you bring with you to births?
Midwives in Oregon are legally licensed to carry equipment and medications to safely manage normal deliveries at home. Some of the equipment we bring includes:

  • Resuscitation equipment for baby and birthing parent: a bag and mask resuscitator and oxygen.

  • Anti-hemorrhagic drugs to stop excessive postpartum bleeding.

  • Monitoring equipment for you and your baby, including a doppler, blood pressure cuff and stethoscope, and infant stethoscope.

  • Supplies for the newborn exam and any newborn procedures that you choose, including a scale, measuring tape, erythromycin ointment, and vitamin K.

  • Suturing equipment to do repairs if any tearing occurred, and lidocaine to numb for suturing.


What about the mess?
We aim to leave the house as clean as it was when we arrived! During your prenatal care we will give you a link to a website where you will order a "birth kit" which includes all the disposable supplies for your birth. Many of these supplies are meant to keep your house clean during the birth. While you have family bonding time with your new baby, we quietly tidy up.


Can I have a water birth?
Yes, water birth is a lovely option for those who desire it.  Many families choose to have birth tubs for comfort in labor, regardless of whether the family plans to have the baby in or out of the water. We offer birth tub rental.


What do you do after the baby is born?
We will typically put the baby skin to skin on the chest immediately after birth, and we keep an eye on your bleeding and your baby's adjustment to life outside the womb. After the placenta is born and the baby's cord is done pulsing, we ask you if you are ready to cut the cord and who is going to be the one to do it, and we help clamp and cut the cord. Then we give you some space for family time, staying close by with an ear out for your needs and checking on you periodically. Whenever your baby is interested in nursing, we offer help with positioning and latch if you would like it. When you are ready we check baby head to toe, complete keepsake footprints, and measure and weight baby. When you are comfortable and ready for a nap with your baby, and we are satisfied that you and baby are healthy and stable, we leave around 2-4 hours postpartum. We then return in about 24 hours for your first postpartum visit.


How much does it cost?
Check our cost and billing page for a list of services and what we charge. Home birth charge includes prenatal care, attendance at the birth and postpartum care. This fee does not include your birth kit, lab work or ultrasounds, or a birth tub.


Does insurance cover midwifery care?

Check our cost and billing page for information regarding insurance

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